Mayor Mark Jamieson speaks to the media.
Mayor Mark Jamieson speaks to the media. Warren Lynam

Mayor lobbied state for Maroochydore casino licence

SUNSHINE Coast Mayor Mark Jamieson lobbied the State Government on a number of occasions for the Maroochydore CBD to be included in any bid for a new casino licence in Queensland.

Cr Jamieson made the admission yesterday, saying he had "never made any secret of my views on this matter and I am on the public record going back at least to September 2013 that I think Maroochydore would be an ideal location for an integrated resort development - as a means to boost tourism and attract investment in a premium hotel and convention centre".

"When the then responsible Minister Anthony Lynham released the new criteria in March 2016 for any future regional integrated resort development (IRD), it clearly named the Sunshine Coast as a potential location that could meet those criteria," he said in a statement.

"Since then, I have encouraged the State Government on a number of occasions to conduct an open process that would enable a reputable private-sector proposal for an IRD for Maroochydore to come forward and be assessed by the Government on a level playing field with other locations - and not restrict their approach solely to Cairns and the Gold Coast. But the government has made it clear its commitment is to Cairns and the Gold Coast and that there is no casino licence available for any part of the Sunshine Coast."

Senior executives of Malaysian gambling company Nagacorp visited the SunCentral CBD in Maroochydore in November last year, flying in by private jet.

Tourism Minister Kate Jones said that visit was organised by the Special Projects Unit of the the Department of State Development with Cr Jamieson confirming it had not been instigated by either the council or SunCentral Maroochydore Pty Ltd.

Cr Jamieson has described as political Fisher MP Andrew Wallace's motives for calling last night's forum, saying if he was seriously concerned about the impacts of gambling on our community, he would also be seeking a broader ban on gambling.


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